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Journal of Glaciology

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Abstract/ Summary

Jakobshavns Isbrae (69 degrees 10'N, 49 degrees 5'W) drains about 6.5% of the Greenland ice sheet and is the fastest ice stream known. The Jakobshavns Isbrae basin of about 10 000 km(2) was mapped photogrammetrically from four sets of aerial photography, two taken in July 1985 and two in July 1986. Positions and elevations of several hundred natural features on the ice surface were determined for each epoch by photogrammetric block-aerial triangulation, and surface velocity vectors were computed from the positions. The two flights in 1985 yielded the best results and provided most common points (716) for velocity determinations and are therefore used in the modeling studies. The data from these irregularly spaced points were used to calculate ice elevations and velocity vectors at uniformly spaced grid paints 3 km apart by interpolation. The field of surface strain rates was then calculated from these gridded data and used to compute the field of surface deviatoric stresses, using the flow law of ice, for rectilinear coordinates, X, Y pointing eastward and northward. and curvilinear coordinates, L, T pointing longitudinally and transversely to the changing ice-flow direction. Ice-surface elevations and slopes were then used to calculate ice thicknesses and the fraction of the ice velocity due to basal sliding. Our calculated ice thicknesses are in fair agreement with an ice-thickness map based on seismic sounding and supplied to us by K. Echelmeyer. Ice thicknesses were subtracted from measured ice-surface elevations to map bed topography. Our calculation shows that basal sliding is significant only in the 10-15 km before Jakobshavns Isbrae becomes afloat in Jakobshavns IsfJord.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Fastook, JL, Brecher, HH, and Hughes, TJ, 1995, Derived Bedrock Elevations, Strain Rates and Stresses from Measured Surface Elevations and Velocities - Jakobshavns-Isbrae, Greenland: Journal of Glaciology, v. 41, p. 161-173. Available on publisher's site at:

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© Copyright 1995 by the International Glaciological Society


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